Armed with science, knowledge, will and the determination to succeed, Emirati women are vital, active and key partners of the UAE's overall sustainable development.
In recognition of their achievements, the UAE celebrates, on Tuesday, 28th August, the annual Emirati Women's Day, which was announced by H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women's Union (GWU), President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation (FDF), the "Mother of the UAE," as a national occasion to mark the anniversary of the establishment of the GWU on 28th August, 1975.
The fourth edition of Emirati Women's Day, which will be held this year under the theme, "Women on the Course of Zayed," aims to highlight the contributions of Emirati women and their role in the country's development.
Sheikha Fatima said that celebrating Emirati Women's Day is an opportunity to appreciate and take pride in the local and international achievements of Emirati women, who have contributed to the progress of the UAE society.
Since the 1970s, Sheikha Fatima has been endeavouring to create opportunities for women around the country, sparing no efforts to empower them in all emirates through the creation of the GWU, which was established in 1975 as the official representative of Emirati women, with the blessing of Sheikh Zayed, the founder of the UAE and the creator of its advancements. The country's wise leadership under the President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Their Highnesses Supreme Council Members and Rulers of the Emirates, has been pursuing the path of Sheikh Zayed in empowering women.
Therefore, and thanks to this support from the leadership, Emirati women have notched leading positions, including the Speaker of the Federal National Council, FNC, with female members making up 20 percent of the FNC. They have also been appointed to the UAE Cabinet, where women now occupy nine seats. Additionally, they have got key positions in various fields, such as engineers, doctors, lawyers and diplomats, as well as 66 percent of government jobs, 30 percent of which are decision-making positions.
The GWU's gender database indicate the overall advancement of Emirati women. In the diplomatic corps, six female ambassadresses have been appointed to the country's missions in New York, Spain, Denmark, Latvia, Brazil and Finland, along with a consul in China. One woman has got the rank of "Minister Plenipotentiary First Class," while three are ranked as "Minister Plenipotentiary," eight as "Counsellor," 30 as "1st Secretary," 62 as "2nd Secretary," 61 as "3rd Secretary," and 63 as "Attache." The number of female diplomatic staff at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has reached 234, out of a total of 741 employees.
Emirati women are also present in the judiciary and public prosecution, and there are two female judges at the Court of First Instance and two at the Military Court, as well as two female prosecutors, 17 assistant prosecutors and one ma'dhoun (marriage official).
The UAE leads the world in the index of women's participation in higher, primary and preparatory education, as well as in women's literacy efforts.
The UAE has launched many economic initiatives to support women, such as assisting female staff and building their capabilities. The number of Emirati businesswomen has reached some 23,000, who manage projects valued at over AED50 billion. Women also occupy 15 percent of the boards of directors of chambers of commerce and industry around the country and represent 25 percent of the country's total workforce. Emirati women also make up 30 percent of workers of small and medium-sized companies and enjoy active participation in the national economy.
Sheikha Fatima has always been recognising the role of Emirati women in the charity and humanitarian work domain, and their sacrifices to improve the conditions of the needy, provide relief, muster support for women's causes, end illiteracy, and ensure care for children, people of determination and orphans.
Emirati women have always been active as well in zones affected by disasters and are among the first to initiate help for victims, especially women and children, around the world, as well as support orphans, widows and the homeless.
Source: UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs